The 2020 ABCA Convention, held in Nashville from January 2-5, 2020 concluded on Sunday morning after four jam-packed days of baseball featuring 7,100 coaches and more than 350 baseball companies in attendance. The convention, which was held in the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, featured more than 50 clinics across the main clinic hall, Youth Coaches Session and Expo Theater. In addition, attendees explored the nearly 200,000 sq. ft. ABCA Trade Show, participated in Q&A and Hot Stove Sessions, celebrated coaching peers receiving awards, took part in committee & divisional meetings, networked at the ABCA Coaches Social and more throughout the weekend!
"This year's convention represented the best of the American Baseball Coaches Association and its membership," said ABCA Executive Director Craig Keilitz. "We had 7,100 coaches from all levels of the sport join us this year, which is more than we've ever had it our 76-year history. Seeing all three clinic stages packed throughout the day and the buzz within the ABCA Trade Show floor created a special atmosphere and a great learning environment."
The convention kicked off in the afternoon on Thursday, January 2 with the opening of the ABCA Trade Show
and Expo Theater
. The ABCA Trade Show featured over 350 companies displaying the latest baseball products and innovations while the Expo Theater had almost 20 clinics throughout a three-day span featuring product releases and demonstrations, panel discussions and talks hosted by some of the ABCA Trade Show companies. ABCA Official Partners
such as Blast Motion, Driveline Baseball, HitTrax, KP Sport, Next College Student Athlete, Pocket Radar, Rapsodo, Texas Baseball Ranch, Turface Athletics and Stick & Ball TV all presented throughout the event.
"This year's Trade Show was the largest in our history as over 350 companies joined us and encompassed nearly 200,000 sq. ft.," mentioned Keilitz. "Walking through the aisles and seeing all of the latest products and deals that these companies were offering our coaches from training products to apparel to technology was truly incredible. I want to thank all of the exhibitors that were in attendance and especially our 25 ABCA Official Partners that support our association and member coaches year-round."
On Friday, January 3, the main stage clinics presented by ATEC
began in full force. The morning began with a celebration highlighting ABCA member coaches that were honored this past year as the ABCA/Diamond Sports National Coaches of the Year
and ABCA/Baseball America Assistant Coaches of the Year
as well as a recognition of the newest ABCA Lifetime Members
and the 2020 ABCA Dave Keilitz Ethics in Coaching Award recipients
. The 23 main-stage clinics followed the celebration and ran through the morning of Sunday, January 5.
Presenters were arranged by ABCA Second Vice President Dan McDonnell of the University of Louisville with the assistance of ABCA Third Vice President Rick Hitt of South Florida State College. Beyond Corbin, the clinicians were a very diverse group with college coaches from various levels including NCAA Div. I head coaches Rick Heller (University of Iowa) and Kerrick Jackson (Southern University), several professional coaches and instructors, two former Major League players, a pair of high school coaches and two motivational speakers, John O'Leary and Dr. Kevin Elko.
Longtime MLB manager Buck Showalter also spoke about the role of coaches and the responsibility of the ABCA membership.
For the first time ever, these clinics were live streamed for ABCA members that couldn't attend the convention in Nashville. Coaches were able to watch the clinics in real-time from Friday to Sunday on the ABCA video website
and in the My ABCA mobile app
The Youth Coaches Session presented by GameChanger
also commenced on Friday, January 3. The Youth Coaches Session, which hosted about 15 clinics tailored specifically for coaches of youth-level teams up to age 14, took place across Friday and Saturday and was open to all registered attendees. Speakers in the Youth Session included Spencer Allen of Northwestern University, Derek Johnson of the Cincinnati Reds and Nick Schnabel of the University of Michigan among others.
Friday evening concluded with more celebrations as the ABCA hosted a Coaches Social in the ABCA Trade Show before the ABCA/Diamond Sports Hall of Fame Banquet
that night. The Hall of Fame Banquet featured the induction of the six-member ABCA Hall of Fame Class of 2020
and the presentation of the 2020 ABCA/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award
to longtime Wisconsin High School coach Tom O'Connell.
Evening activities included the Rookie Coaches Mentorship gathering as well as six Hot Stove sessions
covering a range of topics from infield & outfield play to pitching, hitting, catching and base running.
All 7,100 coaches that registered and checked-in on site in Nashville will once again receive all clinic videos for free in their ABCA account later this month. The full set of clinic videos include the main-stage clinics, Youth Coaches Session, Expo Theater and main-stage Question & Answer sessions. All videos will be available on www.ABCAvideos.org for non-attendees and all ABCA members receive a 30% discount on all ABCA videos as part of the ABCA Membership Discount Program
. Every coach that registered for the Convention Live Stream will also receive the complete set of 2020 ABCA Convention videos in their ABCA account!
"This is truly a special organization and it's an honor to serve our nearly 13,000 member coaches," said Keilitz. "Thank you to everyone that attended this year's convention in Nashville & joined us online via the live video streaming option. I look forward to seeing many coaches at our 2020 Barnstormers Regional Coaching Clinics in the fall and certainly even more at the 2021 ABCA Convention!"
The 2021 ABCA Convention will be held January 7-10, 2021 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Be sure to keep an eye out for more information regarding the 2021 Convention beginning this summer on the ABCA website and our social media platforms as well as in the My ABCA app, Inside Pitch Magazine and Press Box e-newsletter.